32 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM tools which have ensured the safe use of neonicotinoid pesticides on millions of acres of European crops over the past decade. WHAT CAN THE INDUSTRY DO Syngenta has a long standing commitment to bee and pollinator health. Its easy to forget how important this is to the sustainability of our business especially when one considers that our seed production activities rely on pollinators like bees. Indeed we use around 13000 hives for these purposes every year around the globe. Syngenta also firmly believes in the safety of its neonicotinoid product thiamethoxam towards the pollinators and the environment and the company stands behind its products. It was for this reason that Syngenta collaborated with Bayer CropScience in launching the Five Point Bee Health Action Plan in 2013 and over the past couple of years considerable progress has been made including 1. A major scale up in the creation of pollen rich flowering field margins providing essential habitat and nutrition for bees thereby enhancing biodiversity on nearly 150000 hectares of farmland in the EU. 2. Prototyping new air-cleaning technology for seed drilling equipment to further reduce dust emissions. 3. Stepping up investment in various bee and pollinator health research projects focusing on control of the highly dam- aging Varroa mite and increasing bee nutrition. 4. Invested more than 3 million in the first comprehensive multi-country field monitoring program for bee health and neonicotinoids. The program is being conducted independently by the Center for Ecology and Hydrology and should report before the end of 2016. 5. Provided cost effective deflectors for sowing machinery to thousands of growers in selected pilot countries to demonstrate that dust emissions from the drilling of seed treated with neon- icotinoids and other pesticides can be reduced by more than 90 per cent. In addition to this the two companies have submitted an updated data package which reconfirms the safety of seeds treated with neonicotinoid pesticides. This includes a new peer reviewed study that replicated a previous one done by Mikael Henry which used RFID technology to track the behaviour of bees after exposure to these pesticides. The results of this latest study conducted this time under realistic field conditions showed no impact on the foraging behaviour of bees. WHATS NEXT There is no certainty about what comes next. We know the debate on these pesticides will continue in Europe for some time but we remain convinced of their safety both for bees and the wider environment. Syngenta will continue supporting the Action Plan and publishing our own studies which examine the safety. But a lot is also riding on the study being conducted by the Center for Ecology and Hydrology across several EU coun- tries. Whatever EFSAs Bee Risk Guidance Document says this landscape study has been conducted on an unprecedented scale under realistic field conditions. This will go a long way to deciding the debate on neonicotinoid pesticides in the European Union. The final results are expected next year but in the meantime its likely that those countries who wish to issue the emergency use permits will go on doing so whilst others will agitate for a complete ban. For some additional sources of information on neonicotinoids and bees visit UK Government official position on neon- icotinoids and bees - httpswww.gov. ukgovernmentuploadssystemuploads attachment_datafile221052pb13937-ne- onicotinoid-bees-20130326.pdf UK bee numbers are improving accord- ing to beekeepers with neonicotinoids in use - httpwww.bbka.org.ukfiles pressreleasesbbka_winter_survival_ release_18_june_2014_1403026705.pdf Forbes article setting out the polit- ical process driving the EU restric- tion of neonicotinoids - httpwww. forbes.comsitesjonentine20130924 while-global-bee-colonies-recov- er-european-politicians-seem-deter- mined-to-kill-them-off Editors Note Georg Goeres is the Head Seedcare EAME at Syngenta Crop Protection. SEED COMPANIES HAVE BEEN ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN THE PROMOTION AND CREATION OF MORE POLLINATOR HABITATS.